Rhetorical Analysis Prompts

Rhetorical Analysis Prompts

Rhetorical analysis prompts are questions that help you to begin your rhetorical context analysis with ease. They are questions that focus on rhetorical analysis essay, the reader, limitations, audience and motivations for this kind of writing.

Rhetorical analysis prompts to help you in your analysis

Define the reader

When writing a rhetorical analysis paper, it is imperative to define the reader in terms of gender, age, education, occupation and position of value. Determine the values that the reader has or shares with an author. Additionally, you need to determine the range of different positions based on issues that could target readers.

Determine outstanding features

Once you have defined the readers, it is wise to look for the most significant and crucial features. This includes the arrangement of arguments, the claim, supporting evidence as well as style of your analysis. Ask yourself what are some of the features of the essay that make it more persuasive or convincing.

Remember, a rhetorical analysis essay analyzes the major argument of a writer throughout the paper. The writer tries to persuade or convince target audience to change their way of thinking in regards to a given subject. Therefore, you should identify parts of the text that are most appealing, the most difficult to read and the reasons why. With these rhetorical analysis prompts, it becomes easy to analyze an argument.

Do you know the author?

Knowing an author makes rhetorical analysis easy. Know who the author is, his or her specific qualifications and what does he, or she present to help build credibility with target audience. Ask yourself what is it in the essay that appeals to the character of the author? In what way does the author identify or relate with the readers?

Does the level of readers or audience connect help in the essay and if so, how? These questions enable you to build a solid argument and to convince target audience.


Given the above rhetorical analysis prompts that help you to understand more about target audience and readers, determine the limitations they impose on the writer. How does the author’s experience or background limit the claim or argument? Do the values or character of the author limit the argument?

To a larger context based on social, historical, economic or social context of the claim limit the author in any way? Answer these questions efficiently to carry out proper analysis.

Other questions you should answer for efficient rhetorical analysis

  • What could have prompted an author to present his or her claim?
  • If any, what is the writers experience or history of work based on the topic or subject?
  • What event could have driven the author and
  • What value or values could have sparked this essay (the rhetorical analysis essay you are analyzing)?

Strategy for reading rhetorical analysis prompts

To effectively tackle rhetorical analysis prompts, it is imperative to have an idea of the prompt’s reading strategy. For many passages, you need to

Underline the main keywords in the prompt

Decide on the most significant keywords that force you to carefully read the prompt. This can be quite difficult even if you have the experience. It is essential to understand a prompt and to identify the most significant words to avoid wrong answers and tragic consequences.

Identify and circle the specific purpose of your analysis

Rhetoric analysis prompts need proper analysis of the rhetoric or the style. This is to ensure that the purpose of the analysis is included in a thesis statement. Remember, this is what you are writing about and the reader should be aware of it.

Identify any devices

If there are any devices mentioned in a prompt, draw boxes around each device. There are prompts that can tell you to identify specific devices such as syntax, narrative and diction among others. Therefore, it is wise to discuss them in the essay even if you do not mention them in your essay.

Rhetorical analysis prompts and essay writing strategy

With proper understanding of how to read a prompt, writing your analysis becomes an easy task. However, you have to follow the right procedure by adhering to rhetorical analysis writing strategy. Just like all essays, the analysis should include an


Thesis statement (this should be clear and concise articulating the purpose of the entire prompt or passage). The thesis can be subdivided into three parts thus, creating topics for body paragraphs. It is however imperative to note that writing a good thesis statement can be challenging. This is because there are many elements that should be included in one sentence.

Therefore, it is wise that in the process of constructing the sentence, you should include main clause referring to the purpose of the analysis. Subordinate clause in relevance to rhetorical analysis prompts you are working on should refer to the techniques used by the author. As a result, keep your focus on the big question or the purpose.

Body of evidence that continuously supports the thesis while pointing to the evidence in the text and

A conclusion

The above approach or strategy is well organized with a rhetorical triangle. Using the three fold triangulated approach not only enhances the analysis process but it also helps you to organize your ideas well. It is always useful in tackling rhetorical analysis prompts because

  • It first identifies the purpose of the author
  • It analyzes the audience
  • Identifies rhetorical strategies to support or prove a thesis and
  • Recognizes the target audience

The essay example below features all the above approach

Rhetorical analysis of Mrs. Clinton

Mrs. Clinton is a strong woman and powerful woman dedicated to fighting for human rights across the globe. It was until she became the first lady of the United States of America that she started her work in 1993. Through her capacities and status outside office, she has championed for the rights and acknowledgement of women. ……………..

To make your analysis successful, the general rule is to keep the purpose of the paper and the big question or rhetorical analysis prompts in focus. You can organize your paper by device but by organizing by purpose is highly recommended because it forms the strongest claim and approach.

Examples of rhetorical analysis prompts

Sample essay 1

Why We Can’t Wait’ by Martin Luther King

I see a young Negro boy. He is sitting in front of a vermin infested house in Harlem and on a stoop. The stench of garbage is all over the halls. The jobless, the drunks and the junkies are shadow figures of his everyday world. The boy goes to a school that is mostly attended by Negro students with a scattering Puerto Ricans. His dad is jobless and his mother is a sleep in domestic working for a family on long Island………………………

‘’ I see a young Negro boy, I see a young Negro girl…this is the story of that boy and that girl. This is the story of Why We Can’t Wait’’. Martin Luther King sets out to portray the conditions that Black Americans had to endure and the discrimination they faced in the introduction of his book, Why We Can’t Wait.

What did you find in the passage or prompt above? It is a narrative and the author uses narrative device to relate to his writing purpose. He puts in the thesis statement. For the above prompt and analysis of the essay, click here.

Example 2

Rhetorical analysis prompt that helps you to tackle the prompt and focus on purpose

‘’I have a Dream’’ Martin Luther King

Carefully read the speech ‘’I have a Dream’’ delivered from the steps of Lincoln Memorial during the March on August 28, 1963 in washing DC. Write a well-organized rhetorical analysis essay discussing the rhetorical strategies used by the author to achieve his purpose for addressing all in attendance.

In your analysis, describe the purpose of the passage, persuasive and stylistic devices used to achieve the purpose. Read the whole essay here.

Example 3

Florence Kelley was a social worker in the US and a reformer who successfully fought for child labor laws and improved working conditions for women. She delivered the following speech before the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Philadelphia, on July 22, 1905.

Carefully read the passage, write a rhetorical analysis essay that analyzes the rhetorical strategies used by Kelley to pass across her message on child labor to her target audience. Support your analysis with clear references to the text- ap11julias.weebly.com

The three examples above have a good thesis statement backed up by assertions. They also include techniques and specific devices that the authors found useful in defining the purpose of their writing. Therefore, when writing rhetorical analysis essay carefully choose examples that will suit your purpose best. This will further help you to tackle rhetorical analysis prompts successfully.

However, if you still find difficulties answering rhetorical analysis questions and getting started with your analysis, you can contact us for assistance. Our custom writing services center is a place where you can get the best writing assistance. What’s more, you will get an opportunity to go through exceptional examples of rhetorical essays and prompts. Contact us at any time for more information on essay writing services that are second to none.